Neurology Now featured an article in their magazine about a remarkable young woman with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) named Alexis Wineman. Although she was crowned “Miss Montana” in 2012, and was the first Miss America contestant with ASD in the 92-year history of the competition, Alexis has faced many obstacles. But she has thrived. Each contestant in the pageant was asked to focus on a platform or issue, and Alexis took this opportunity to choose awareness and acceptance of ASD as her topic. She titled it “Normal is Just a Dryer Setting: Living with Autism”. Perhaps the most compelling point that she has made about the many challenged that people with ASD face, is the way she stressed the need to not let “being different” define – or limit – a person.
Like Wineman, many children with ASD experience delays in diagnosis, and can often times cause the children to struggle in school, and even be bullied and teased. Unfortunately, this can happen to any child who has been labeled “different” in some way. ASD is very common and occurs in one out of every 68 children born in the U.S. The chances are, you know someone living with these daily challenges, which makes it all the more important to recognize when a child is struggling so that you can get them help in identifying the cause, and then find the appropriate treatments and therapies – as early as possible. This is a child’s best shot for a positive transition into adulthood.